The Top 15 Islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas
Paradise wasn’t lost, but it surely suffered. Hurricanes Irma and Maria bore down on the Caribbean last fall, affecting nearly 30 percent of the region. What’s incredible to see is that our readers voted in support of those in need: nine out of the 15 islands on this year’s World’s Best list were impacted by the storms, especially St. John, Virgin Gorda, and Vieques. Some will spend years recovering. Others, like Anguilla — which earned the top honor for the second year in a row — are rebounding with remarkable speed. What all of these favorites have in common is unrivaled beauty and histories that outlive nature’s tempests.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Cuba makes its first appearance since 2011, signaling its growing popularity among Americans. (This occurred despite new travel restrictions by the Trump administration.) “It’s as if you stepped in a time travel machine,” writes one reader. “I loved seeing all the old buildings and the cars in Havana.” Adds another, who praises the people, music, and art, “Expect a slower pace.”
Which is not to say that the other islands don’t have a time-stands-still quality to them, too. Bermuda may have a new, noteworthy luxury hotel in the Loren — but the iconic shores of Elbow Beach and Horseshoe Bay remain uncrowded, and the streets of the capital city, Hamilton, are just as charming as they were 50 years ago. One reader described the Exumas, an archipelago of 365 cays in the Bahamas, as “less touristy, with great local food and fishing.” (And then there’s the activity that everyone wants to do there: swim with pigs.) Read on for the full list of World’s Best winners in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas — and get inspired to visit this remarkable region.
15. St. Maarten/St. Martin
14. St. Bart’s
12. Culebra, Puerto Rico
11. Exumas, Bahamas
7. Vieques, Puerto Rico
6. Turks & Caicos
5. St. Lucia
4. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
3. Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
2. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
This island may no longer be a secret well kept by its devotees, but visitors can still find themselves alone on one of its 33 extraordinary beaches. Move from an afternoon of solitude to an evening of luxury as you wish: Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa, the Four Seasons, and Frangipani Beach Resort, all voted World’s Best hotels this year by T+L readers, cater to the most discerning of travelers, as do long-standing restaurants like Straw Hat and Blanchards.
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.